Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said that the fatality rate of coronavirus cases in India had dipped and currently stood at 1.28%. His comments came amid a massive surge in number of cases in the country. In the past five days, the daily infection count rose above the one lakh-mark on four days.

Speaking at a meeting of Group of Ministers, Vardhan also suggested that the number of patients suffering from severe symptoms was low. “Right now 0.46% of the active critical patients are on ventilators, 2.31% are in ICU [Intensive Care Units] and 4.51% are on oxygen-supported beds,” he said.

He added that over 9.43 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country so far, of which nearly 37 lakh doses were given in the past 24 hours. “Last week we even gave 43 lakh doses one day, probably the highest given anywhere in the whole world,” he said.

The minister added that over 89 lakh healthcare workers have received the first dose of the vaccine, while 54 lakh have been given the second shot too. “As far as frontline or field level workers are concerned, over 98 lakh have got the first dose and over 45 lakh have got the second dose,” he said.

India on Friday reported yet another record surge in coronavirus infections after 1,31,968 new cases were reported in 24 hours. The country’s overall count of infection rose to 1,30,60,542 since March 2020. Deaths rose by 780, driving the toll in the country to 1,67,642 since March last year. The active caseload stood at 9,79,608.

The central government has so far decided against imposing a nationwide lockdown to contain the latest surge but has asked states to decide on imposing local restrictions.

Meanwhile, various states, including Odisha, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, have complained of vaccine shortages. But the Centre has repeatedly dismissed their concerns, and the Union health minister accused state governments of making “deplorable attempts” to spread panic among the people.

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